Kim Kwang-hyun fails to reach deal with San Diego Padres

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Dec 12, 2014 - 20:18
  • Updated : Dec 12, 2014 - 20:18

South Korean pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun has failed to reach an agreement with the San Diego Padres, Kim’s current domestic club announced Friday.

The SK Wyverns in the Korea Baseball Organization said the 26-year-old left-hander will stay at home at least for another season, after he was unable to sign a deal with the Major League Baseball club by the deadline.

The Wyverns posted Kim in early November and the Padres submitted the highest bid for Kim with $2 million. The Padres had 30 days to negotiate a deal with Kim and the deadline fell on 7 a.m. Friday in Seoul, or 2 p.m. Thursday in San Diego.
SK Wyverns’ pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun. (Yonhap)

With the talks with San Diego having fallen through, Kim had two options for next year. He could choose to return to the Wyverns for 2015, or he could enter contract talks with interested clubs in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball with the Wyverns’ approval.

The Wyverns said Kim opted to stay home. Kim can’t be posted again until Nov. 1, 2015.

In a statement released by the Wyverns, Kim thanked all the parties involved in his pursuit of big league dreams.

“It’s disappointing that I wasn’t able to reach an agreement with San Diego,” Kim said. “But I’d like to thank SK for posting me, and thank San Diego for negotiating in good faith until the end, and my agent (Melvin Roman) for his work. I will do my best back with the Wyverns and I’d like to give Major League another try when the opportunity arises.”

Kim became eligible for posting after completing his equivalent of seven full KBO seasons in 2014, which granted him conditional free agency. Kim needed the Wyverns’ approval to be posted and the club wasted little time, announcing on the first business day of November that they would post him.

The Wyverns said they weren’t too pleased with the amount of the winning bid but accepted it to help Kim realize his dream of pitching in the majors.

However, since the Padres and Kim failed to reach an agreement, the Wyverns won’t get to keep that $2 million submitted in the bid.

Kim, the 2008 KBO MVP, went 13-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 28 starts in 2014, bouncing back after struggling with injuries in recent years. He ranked among the top five in the Triple Crown categories of wins, ERA and strikeouts and was one of only six starters to post an ERA under 4.00 in a year of massive offensive numbers.

The Wyverns may choose to post Kim again after next season. If Kim pitches two more seasons in the KBO, he will become an unrestricted free agent, a status that will allow him to sign with an MLB club without going through posting. After the 2016 season, Kim also will not need the Wyverns’ approval to begin contract talks with any NPB teams.

Kim is one of two KBO players to be posted this offseason. A few weeks after Kim, Yang Hyeon-jong, a left-handed pitcher for the Kia Tigers, was also posted. The Tigers, however, rejected the winning bid from an unidentified big league club, because of its unsatisfactory amount. Yang too has chosen to stay with the Tigers instead of seeking opportunities in Japan. (Yonhap)

A third KBO player, shortstop Kang Jung-ho of the Nexen Heroes, is expected to be posted early next week. The 27-year-old could garner some interest after enjoying the best season of his career with 40 home runs, 117 RBIs and a .356 average in 117 games. The home run and RBI totals were both single-season records by a shortstop.

He also set career-highs with a .459 on-base percentage and a .739 slugging percentage. (Yonhap)